Podcast Episode 141: When does “The Buck Stops Here” NOT apply? (Response to a Tough, Heavy Question)

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In The Loop with Andy Andrews, hosted by David Loy


Before getting into our discussion, I wanted to give a shout-out to my friend Wes Hampton.

  • He and his family were over this past 4th of July weekend and we had a lot of fun grilling and watching the kids play.
  • Wes also has a Kamado Joe (plus his own cookbook), so we had a great cooking discussion.
  • Find Wes on Facebook or head over to WesHampton.com, and you can find his recipes there.

This week’s topic comes from a pastor who sometimes works with victims of sexual abuse, and what “accepting responsibility” would look like in this situation. One of the women he works with started reading The Traveler’s Gift and closed the book when she read to accept responsibility for your past.

Life is a series of advancing what we understand, or we kind of stop in a certain place and say, “That’s it.”

  • There was a time in most people’s lives when they had not acquired a taste for certain types of food.
  • If I had a chance to talk to her before she read The Traveler’s Gift, I would say, “Read the book with the same mind-set as you would have going into a cafeteria.”
  • They might have a lot of things you like, but you don’t leave when you see something you won’t eat.

Accepting responsibility for our past also means determining what we are responsible for.

  • The things we are not responsible for would certainly fall more into the forgiveness category.
  • At the age of 9, you would really have no choice if an adult imposed something on you.
  • I know this is a delicate situation and I don’t know all the circumstances, so this is more of just exploring ideas, but I do feel there is a certain age when responsibility to get yourself out of a situation falls somewhat to you.

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  • Jay Bergers III

    Sorry to say this Mister Andy Andrews but as someone that was molested as a child to suggest to that woman that at 17 perhaps she was (or should have been) responsible
    is not the best advice. I love many of your insights, stories of Faith, and encouraging words ….but this response you give her on this podcast “missed the mark”
    in my humble opinion. Coming from someone with a past and a history who is “in recovery”. The amount of self hatred and self loathing she must feel is intense. Because I feel some of that as well. I am sure that you meant no harm. I simply choose to politely disagree with your assessment.

    • jaybie

      By a teacher not a parent

  • David Loy

    Hi, Jay!

    Thanks for your comment and for listening to the show. I believe Andy was attempting to explore the issue on the podcast…to raise questions and discuss different elements of the situation. I did not ever get the impression that he was blaming the 17 year old for what happened to her. At least that was my interpretation when Andy and I recorded the show.

    I agree with you that Andy certainly meant no harm in any of his statements or ideas. In fact, Andy and I both were eager to hear feedback from the listeners and to get more information on a topic that has never been addressed on In The Loop.

    What were your thoughts on the other comments Andy gave?

    Thanks again, Jay! Andy and I enjoy taking on the tough questions and I hope we can do more of this in the future!

    • Rick Livingood

      Hi Andy & David,

      I, too, was a target of abuse up until the age of 17. And I have suffered all the horrible after-affects for many years just like anyone that has been abused… some still affect me even today. Just so others don’t think I’m not sensitive, I am very well acquainted with the self-hatred, no self-esteem, depressed, totally negative outlook on life, no future, hopelessness, fear, nightmares, and many other emotional damages. My life was completely infected with dysfunction and anger up until the age of 26. I didn’t even know why I was angry; I didn’t even know the anger had it’s roots stemming from the abuse. I caused everyone around me to be afraid of me and not want to be around. I couldn’t figure out why. But one day, through what I believe was God’s providence, it was revealed to me why and how I could be freed from all that pain. It was then that I was faced with the choice to do something about it.

      What I think Andy was delicately trying to say was we are responsible to do something about it once we understand. The abuse itself, I or anyone else has had, is certainly not our responsibility but I believe it is our responsibility to do something about it once we know we can. I’ve found so many people just stop right there and live in what I call the “victim mentality”. They seem to never move from that spot to discover true healing. It’s easy to just sit there and blame others for what happened but if any abuse victim wants to be healed, they can. I’ll be the first to tell you it’s not easy but it certainly is possible and worth the effort. The very first lesson I learned about true healing was forgiveness. I did NOT want to do that… and how dare someone tell me I had to forgive. After all, the abuser didn’t deserve it. But the truth is, forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for me. It doesn’t relieve them of their responsibility nor are they required to ask for my forgiveness… I just had to learn to forgive so my brokenness can be healed.

      For me, I didn’t want to pass on the “legacy abuse syndrome” to my family and others only to have them pass it on. I had to make the choice, “The Buck Stops Here!” Someone has to be the one to break the cycle and if that’s my lot, then so be it. Isn’t it strange how now, after many years of (and still) working through these obstacles, I am a pastor that works with people with abused pasts? God has given me a heart for broken people and, believe me, our world is full of them.

      God bless you for your work Andy,
      Rick Livingood

      We read your books, listen to your podcasts, and attend your meetings. All so we can help better others’ lives.

      • James Alan

        Although I am not a victim of sexual molestation I can relate to this situation. Because I too was a victim. I am a teacher and I was always taught to listen to and respect my superiors. Because of how I was raised I was taken advantage of by my fellow teachers and bosses. Then one time was asked by peer experiencing the same situation and she recognized that I like her I was a victim too. She asked me how I could deal with it and still be an effective teacher. I immediately reacted to being called a victim and avoided contact with her for a while. After a few weeks I calmed down and thought on what she said and came to the realization that I once I realized I was a victim then I had a responsibility to do something about it. No one likes the title, “victim” and I definitely an adult molder of minds was not about be a victim any longer. I determined right then and there to no longer allow myself to remain a victim. So I guess as Andy says here I finally took responsibility for my life. I mean as long as I was victim, I gave the situation power over me and I refused to be a door mat. There was nothing I could do about my past, but the present I can change…my past would no longer dominate my future! I call it my “Joseph Moment” where I came to realize that although I had been dealt a raw deal, I no longer had to play the hand I was dealt; I could fold and get a new set of cards. This time I chose the cards I was dealt and I have altered my course ever since. I have power over my past; I am no longer a victim…I am the victor!

  • Dawn Petek

    This podcast helped me organize my thoughts about events in my past that I continuously try to figure out what “box” to put them in in my mind. I want to share my “brainstorm,” in hopes that it may help someone else who is trying to “come to terms” with the past. I will add that I am very much enjoying working with “Mastering the Seven Decisions . . . “, but I’m only on #2. As Andy mentions, I hope that people will remember that I am also trying to heal and grow.

    Andy mentions during this podcast that his mission is to help people live the lives that they would live if they only knew how to live it. I think there is a tie in here, because I would say that for a child, yes, at 17 they may have been able to say something, but what if they didn’t know how? Are they still responsible? Is an employee responsible for something they don’t know they are supposed to do? Is a child responsible for taking care of something they don’t know they are supposed to? I think it’s more about then, looking at those past situations, and saying, I did have other choices. But, I didn’t know it at the time, so I chose to survive. I chose the path that was best for me at the time, or the only one I knew. He also mentions that getting yourself out of a certain situation when you get older is your responsibility, and I agree, but again, I think that the particular question the pastor posed was how do you deal with how the responsible decision applies to something you did in the past that felt out of your control? How does it apply to how you are dealing with it today in your own thoughts? And, I think it’s again, saying, I chose to survive. I did the best I could at the time with what I had, where I was, and what I knew. In Andy’s book, he mentions that ignorance of a principle, just like a law of science, doesn’t mean it won’t effect your life. So to me, the “situation” or responsibility lies in the present moment. It is saying, ok, yes, it happened. I see it, I see how it is impacting my life, and if that impact is something I feel that I want to change, then that is up to me to change it.

    Thank you for the opportunity and space to share my advice to myself.

    • David Loy

      Hey, Dawn!

      WOW! Thanks for your feedback and for sharing your thoughts!

      I love your phrasing, “…I chose to survive.” I think that statement truly speaks to the heart of a very difficult matter.

      Glad you are enjoying The 7 Decisions book! Let us know if you have any questions you’d like to hear Andy discuss on a future episode of the podcast. Email us at [email protected]


  • Rosalia

    I normally enjoy your podcasts, but I have to say I was very uncomfortable with your ideas of what a 17 year old’s responsibility in the case of sexual abuse is. In most states a 17 year old is still a minor, if she ran away from home – her situation would have been even more dire. The shame that someone feels prevents them from telling even the most trusted person in their life.
    Please know that this is very hard for me to write, b/c I have the utmost respect for you and your work and while you did not say this, this is what I heard “A rape victim was asking for it.” or she did nothing to prevent it. I know in my heart that you want to help people, and that is why I feel so badly writing this. I respectfully suggest that questions like this are not aired, and perhaps handled in a more private manner.
    At this time my family is dealing with effects of some sort of emotional damage my husband experienced as a child. He is angry, resentful, has low self-esteem disguised in arrogance, negative, detached, a desire to be perfect – the list goes on. It is hurting our marriage and our daughters. He is still trying to make up for whatever happened, even though he can’t/won’t remember. He reads your books and listens to your podcasts, at my suggestion, b/c I believe you have so much good advice – and I will continue to listen to you.

  • Jason

    I would like to commend Andy for having the courage to even discuss this issue. Most people would run in the other direction because of the simple fact that what one person hears can be totally different than what someone is actually trying to say and this in turn could have the potential to cause damage to his career. It has been my experience that the responsibility that lies with a person who has had some form of emotional trauma in their life whether it be sexual abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse or any other abuse is how they choose to let it affect their life today and in the future. We may not be responsible for something that happened to us as a child, but we are responsible for how we let it affect us today as an adult.

  • I have to say thank you Andy for having the courage to respond to this question in the way that you did. This is simply an area that most will not venture into because of the hurt and sometimes unbearable pain that it takes to face the truth and move on. Coming from a background where I was molested as not only a child but as a teenager as well I speak from experience when I say that weather you or I like it or not, Andy has a great and valid point. I remember like it was yesterday even though it was 26 years ago. My step brother who was twenty years older than me started molesting me. I was 16 years old in body but in reaction I was that little boy of age 7 who was molested by the neighbor adult male. For years I fought with the thought that I could have done something about my brother and chose not to. I must have liked it or wanted it to happen. I am sure you are thinking so far in this story, how can you agree with Andy if this was your reaction. I am in agreement because it is by finally acknowledging that question and really being truthful about it out loud I was able to start to heal. Please do not get me wrong. To this day I believe that there is not one thing I could have done differently where my brother was concerned, but in really looking at it and becoming wiling to take responsibility for it if need be there came a freedom which allowed me to start the healing process. Until I got to this point I did not have a choice but to allow my past to control my future. You may notice that I have signed with my full name with this sensitive story. This is because I want to help break the silence and secretive nature of this kind of thing. We do not have to be full of shame or guilt anymore. I am here to help anyone that would like to talk about this at anytime.

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